And that my friends is how you zoom right along past expectations. Tonight marked Part 1 of the much-anticipated, unprecedented Flash vs. Arrow — note not Flash v. Arrow — crossover and it was every bit as fun and amazing as we could have hoped. It also furthered the notion that any cinematic DC hero universe that doesn’t include Stephen Amell’s Arrow and Grant Gustin’s Flash clearly won’t be reaching its full potential.
The great thing about the show is that Flash isn’t a reluctant hero and completely loves every second he can make use of his powers, especially in the pursuit of helping others, demonstrated tonight by Flash delivering flowers to an estranged couple and painting a building for a painter.
His Central City good deeds tour gets cut short as arrives at a bank unleashing his red tinted eyes on the bank crowd, prompting them to go into a red rage. With the way the show has liberally borrowed from Firestorm villains it’d take a dedicated DC fan to quickly grasp that this is Roy G. Bivolo, one of Flash’s villains The Rainbow Raider aka Chroma especially since the show’s version doesn’t utilize any of his other color spectrum powers i.e. blue light to make someone sad. It’s a minor missed opportunity, but hopefully Chroma returns with his full slate of color palette abilities for his inevitable rematch. Besides, Chroma accomplishes his major objective in terms of the episode – pitting Flash against his ally, Arrow.
Central City police track Bivolo down thanks to a dye pack from the bank, but his powers turns an officer against the rest of the crew including Joe. The Flash saves the officers and gets an assist of his own courtesy of two arrows that bind the officer courtesy of Arrow. In a moment sure to mirror the fans watching, Flash is all smiles to see his pal Arrow on the scene.
Team Arrow is on the scene to track down the man responsible for the boomerang killer from last week’s episode of “Arrow.” Turns out the material used in the boomerang is primarily based in Central City. Diggle, appropriately is stunned to witness Barry’s powers in action. Felicity and Barry are all for a team-up while Oliver is far more reluctant to the idea.
Flash races Felicity to STAR Labs, but in the process burns her blouse. It seemed a bit needless T&A, but it did give us this great line from Felicity: good thing I didn’t go bra-less today. Fittingly, Joe and Wells are not on board with the idea of Flash teaming with Arrow, a known murderous vigilante but Barry defends his friend.
Oliver decides to go along with the team-up, but he’s not on board with the phrase “meta-human” and doesn’t get why Flash names his enemies to which Barry rightfully mentions Deathstroke and Huntress. The playful banter between the two heroes is exactly what makes these kinds of team-ups so fun.
Concerned that Barry is getting by with luck instead of thinking more carefully on the battleground, Oliver has some rather unique training tactics for Barry, specifically a three-pronged arrow attack. “I heard you healed quickly.” That mildly ticks Barry off enough that once Team STAR/Felicity track down Chroma, he wants to go on his own to take him down. Going in too fast has immediate repercussions as Chroma’s power slowly manifesting in raging Barry who starts lashing out at Caitlin telling her he’s not Ronnie, Oliver, Capt. Singh and Joe.
This week we finally get a reason to somewhat dislike Eddie or at least sorta root for Iris to eventually get with Barry. Eddie wants to put together an anti-Flash task force. Eddie’s logic seems a bit skewed here until a Chroma-influenced Flash attacks him. Team STAR realizes something is up with Barry and Wells tells Felicity to call in Oliver Queen as the Arrow is needed. Earlier, Wells asked Felicity who was under the hood, but in the excitement no one asks how he learned Arrow’s identity. Maybe the future room?
Just before Flash can finish beating down Eddie, Arrow arrives to stop him. What follows is pure comic book geek out moments of bliss as we get a real throwdown between CW’s two heroes. Tornado punches, knockout gas arrows, building grappling and scaling and a straight up fisticuffs battle. It was fun watching Flash use some new skills to keep up with Arrow and Arrow using his dirty tricks to keep the fight even. Cisco and Diggle play fanboys and debate if experience will beat out against power. The fight finally comes to an end as Wells and Diggle hit Flash with a series of strobe lights freeing him of Chroma’s influence.
Off-camera, Flash nabs Chroma and puts him in the STAR prison and Caitlin gives him a name — Rainbow Raider. Cisco does not approve. Oliver asks Team STAR to keep his identity safe for his family and friends’ protection and leaves thinking that Wells is kinda weird. If only you knew…
Eddie got the Flash Task Force approved and Oliver warns Barry not to try and pursue things with Iris. Before he heads out, Oliver encounters the girl he knocked up (see Arrow: S2, E:20) and they have an awkward exchange before she talks to someone on the phone. Turns out the girl opted to ignore Moira’s advice and kept the baby.
Post credits, Caitlin is reflecting on a picture of her presumed dead fiance, Ronnie Raymond, who we see under a bridge about to be attacked by two street punks. They ask him if he’s cold and his hands and head ignite into flames. Nope, definitely not cold. I was curious how the show was going to handle Firestorm’s appearance as he has one of the more unique costumes in comics. I’m hoping he’ll eventually get something a bit more intricate than a shirt and jeans.
While it seemed like we were going to be getting a two-part episode with The Flash episode being chapter 1, we actually got a fully self-contained episode here so if for some inexplicable reason fans of Flash weren’t watching Arrow they don’t have to in order to get the full story. I’m anticipating some massive ratings for this one that will hopefully lead to many more cross-overs in the future.